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Biography

Eliane Radigue (born in 1932) is a French music composer whose work, since the early 1970s, has been almost exclusively created using a single synthesizer, the ARP 2500 modular system, and tape.

Raised in Paris by middle-class parents, she married the sculptor Arman with whom she lived in Nice while raising their children. She had studied piano and was already composing before having heard a broadcast by the founder of Pierre Schaeffer. She met him shortly thereafter and, in the early 50s, she became his student. Subsequently, during periodic visits to Paris she worked at the Studio d'Essai. Later, when the studio's contents were moved to the studio of the Groupe Recherche Musicale, her work was discarded, due to sexism.

During the early 60s she was assistant to Pierre Henry at which time she created some of the sounds that appeared in his work. As her work gained maturity, Schaeffer and Henry considered her use of microphone feedback with long tape loops as treachery to their own ideals.

Around 1970, she created her first synthesizer-based music at NYU at a studio she shared with Laurie Spiegel on a Buchla synthesizer left by Morton Subotnick. Her goal by that point was to create a slow, purposeful "unfolding" of sound, which she felt to be closer to contemporary composers of New York than to her previous influences, the French composers.

After presenting the first of her Adnos in 1974 at Mills College at the invitation of Terry Riley, a group of visiting French music students suggested that her music was deeply related to meditation and that she should look into Tibetan Buddhism. Upon investigation, she quickly became devoted and spent the next three years practising under her teacher, Pao Rinpoche, who subsequently sent her back to her musical work.

She picked up where she left off, using the same methods and working toward the same goals as before, finishing Adnos II in 1979 and Adnos III in 1980. She dedicated much of the 80s to a three-hour work, perhaps her masterpiece, the Trilogie de la Mort, which was as heavily influenced by the Tibetan Book of the Dead and her meditation practice as by the death of Pao Rinpoche and her son. The first third of the Trilogie, Kyema, was her first release recording, issued by Phill Niblock's XI label.

Since then she has created a number of works, including one sponsored by the French government, based on stories from the Buddhist tradition.

She joined the laptop improvisation group The Lappetites and they released their first album Before the Libretto on the Quecksilber label in 2005. The Lappetites are Eliane Radigue, Kaffe Matthews, Ryoko Kuwajima, and Antye Greie, better known as AGF.

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